Before starting at Bradley as a physics major, Karl Manheim ’71 worked for presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy at the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He witnessed disruptions inside the convention hall while police battled antiwar protesters outside.
“I was inside the convention as part of the delegation,” he said. “There was a lot of excitement and anxiety throughout the country, especially among younger folks. It was a very volatile time in the country. It felt like democracy itself was on the line.”
It was just one of the places where Manheim came of age politically.
While many male students at the time were concerned with their military draft status, Manheim had a deferment because of service in the U.S. Merchant Marine. He started sailing after high school, first part time on cargo ships but eventually switching to full-time status to gain the deferment.
“I sailed for a couple of years at the height of the Vietnam War. That worked for me,” he said. “My experience was very positive. Of course, doing a lot of international trips in the Merchant Marine, just being exposed to other cultures, other political systems and ways of thinking gave people who had those experiences a little broader, global outlook.”
He noted the diversity of ships’ crews, adding it was an ideal job for those who didn’t fit into a normal workplace culture. His service also made him a few years older than his fellow Bradley students.
Calling his time in the physics department “the best in my life,” Manheim faced a crossroads after applying to both graduate schools and law schools.
“I didn’t make the final choice until the schools wanted tuition deposits,” he said.
Manheim chose law, earning a juris doctorate at Northeastern University and a master of laws (LL.M) from Harvard Law School. He retired after a 30-plus-year career where he taught constitutional law, intellectual property and privacy and technology at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. In the last few years, he’s resurrected his STEM background to teach technical law and work on a book combining physics and constitutional law.
In addition to his science degree, Manheim took art classes and had enough education courses to earn a teaching credential.
“That’s where I did my best work at Bradley,” he said. “It was a fabulous experience for me. The faculty was passionate about teaching and about the subject matter. The campus was a welcoming place. I don’t fit in any mold, having come from the hard sciences and going into law.”
— Bob Grimson
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